Prison is a tough place, but Congress made an exception nearly 30 years ago, giving terminally ill inmates and prisoners with extraordinary family circumstances an early way out. It's called compassionate release.
But a recent investigation found that many federal inmates actually die while their requests drift through the system.
Credit Ian Harrowell, Christine Austin, Manish Arora / Harvard School of Public Health
This model of a molar shows color-coded barium banding patterns that reveal weaning age.
Credit Alyson Hurt, Adam Cole / NPR / Christine Austin / Westmead Centre for Oral Health
Top: Lines on a 100,000-year-old Neanderthal tooth mark the passage of time. Bottom: The distribution of barium shows dietary transition: low barium before birth (1), high barium during breast-feeding (2) and falling barium as the Neanderthal transitions to a mixed diet (3).
Our closest relatives, chimpanzees and gorillas, breast-feed their offspring for several years. Some baby orangutans nurse until they are 7 years old.
But modern humans wean much earlier. In preindustrial societies, babies stop nursing after about two years. Which raises the question: How did we get that way? When did we make the evolutionary shift from apelike parenting to the short breast-feeding period of humans?
George Plimpton boxed with Archie Moore, played quarterback for the Detroit Lions, and played percussion for the New York Philharmonic. He did these jobs, and many others, as an amateur. Plimpton was a professional writer. A new documentary about his life makes the case that Plimpton's best story was his own story, as NPR's Joel Rose reports.
JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: When you listen to George Plimpton's voice, it's like hearing echoes of a New York that no longer exists.
For the first time, the U.S. government has acknowledged killing four American citizens in lethal drone strikes far outside traditional battlefields, confirming information that had been widely known but has only recently been unclassified under orders of the president.
Ibrahim Shomali, a Palestinian priest, offers Communion under the olive trees of the Cremisan Valley in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. This is part of a regular protest against Israeli plans to build a section of its West Bank barrier here, which would separate Palestinians from their agricultural lands.
Credit Emily Harris / NPR
Israeli army Capt. Barak Raz stands on a concrete wall that is part of the barrier separating Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. Soldiers climb to this spot during Palestinian protests to disperse crowds with tear gas or a foul-smelling liquid nicknamed "skunk."
Israeli army Capt. Barak Raz climbs a metal staircase to the top of a high concrete wall that is part of Israel's West Bank barrier. From his perch, he overlooks both the Palestinian village of Bil'in and Modin Illit, the largest Jewish settlement in the West Bank, with some 50,000 residents.
The barrier here used to be a fence. After many confrontations with Israeli soldiers, Palestinian villagers won a court case, and the fence was moved off some of their land. But since the barrier was moved closer to an Israeli settlement, it was rebuilt as a wall.